Lincolnville historical marker dedicated
By DAVID J. HARDIN
There is a new Texas historical marker located at Moccasin Bend along the Leon River near Gatesville, which was dedicated on Saturday afternoon in honor of a community of former slaves in Coryell County.
Back in 1865, Coryell County Judge and Chief Justice John Walker Mayberry was the county’s largest slaveholder at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, and when the proclamation came down, he decided to not expel his former slaves from the county.
Rather, he let his former slaves live on part of his large farmland. The land was located between Dodd’s Creek and the Leon River, which was four miles from Gatesville and near Moccasin Bend which is a part of the river.
These freed slaves were granted permission to keep items like household goods, as well as pets, farm equipment, and axes in order to clear the land.
Lincolnville settlers also constructed a one-room schoolhouse and used it for Sunday church services.
It was a process of more than two years to get the Lincolnville marker approved by the Texas Historical Commission, but thanks to the tireless efforts of the Coryell County Historical Commission and the many hours of research and interviews conducted by Rebecca Sharpless, Ph.D. while she was working on the project at Baylor University, the plaque and the history behind it are now forever encased in stone.
Local residents and officials, along with descendants of the original families of Lincolnville came together at the Coryell Community Church in Gatesville to remember, share stories, and honor the community of Lincolnville with a historical marker.
During the ceremony there were several speakers, including the Chairman of the Coryell County Historical Commission Danny Corbett.
He told the audience the day was an important day for the families of Lincolnville, but also for Coryell County.
Texas Christian University professor Rebecca Sharpless talked about her research with Lincolnville and shared some of the audio excerpts from oral interviews done in 1987 with descendants of the original families of Lincolnville.
The final two speakers, Jim Edd Snow and Geraldine Hoover, both members of the Snow family, spoke about the significance of recognizing the town and their family.
When the presenters were finished, a video was shown of the actual unveiling of the historical marker, which took place on April 6 at Moccasin Bend. After the festivities concluded, a map was distributed to find the marker, just a mile down the road.
Marla Mayberry is a descendant of the Snow and Mayberry families of Lincolnville.
“It has been a real eye-opener to know the history and to be a part of the history, because there have been a lot of questions that we have in trying to make the connections to our families. The pictures and articles have helped us lot,” said Mayberry, born and raised in Gatesville.
Jim Edd Snow is a descendant of the Snow family, and still lives in the area near where Lincolnville once existed, and remarked that the day means a lot to him.
“This has been a great day,” said Geraldine Hoover, another descendant of the Snow family. She has been doing her own research for over 18 years on the town of Lincolnville where her family once lived.
When Sharpless started working on the Lincolnville project at Baylor University in the 1980s, she said she knew that she was part of something very special, talking to the descendents of slaves.
“It came with a challenge because the number of children directly descending from the original families of Lincolnville were starting to dwindle…I am thrilled that Lincolnville is getting the recognition that it deserves, and happy to be a part of it.”
Danny Corbett has been with Coryell County Historical Commission for about 20 years.
“There are many freedom colonies throughout the south, but it is really special that we have one in Coryell County, and the fact that these people were able to make a living farming, starting their own schools, churches, and thriving during a time when they were being discriminated against.”